Iceland is widely known as the “land of fire and ice” for being home to some of Europe’s largest glaciers and the world’s most active volcanoes. Its breathtaking landscapes boast a mystical quality, which makes this Nordic island the dream destination of many. The aurora borealis in Iceland is also one of the best spot to see it.
New York City-based photographer and filmmaker Drew Doggett is an adventurer who has traveled the world to capture extraordinary locations, cultures, and communities. One of his most captivating series to date is titled “In the Realm of Legends,” which features the majestic beauty of Icelandic horses roaming the land.
While many photographers visit this beautiful country to take snapshots of its stunning landscapes and the aurora borealis in Iceland, Doggett took this opportunity to showcase the country’s majestic equestrian population. It proved to be a wise decision, as the equine series ended up resembling a fairytale. The resulting photos were so enchanting, it’s almost hard to believe they’re real.
Doggett captured this breed of semi-wild horses galloping, grazing, and standing against a backdrop of roaring waterfalls, black sand beaches, snow-covered expanses, and frozen lagoons. While the artist’s chosen environments were varied, one thing remained the same: the horse’s regality in every shot.
The noisy waterfalls behind them and the icy winds blowing hard against their bodies did nothing to disturb the horses’ majestic and tranquil nature. They were the perfect picture of calm amid chaos.
“The waterfalls are incredibly loud and almost violently beautiful, yet the horses were calm, standing mere feet from the millions of gallons of rushing water,” Doggett remembers. “Other times, we’d be shooting in thigh-deep snow in windy conditions, as the horses stood completely still.”
Doggett prefers shooting in black and white, but he thought it would be best to use color for this project.
“The light created brilliant hues that added a sublime texture to the entire series,” he said. “Coupled with the contrast between the landscape and the horses, I knew this body of work demanded color.”
And he was absolutely right. The horses’ milky-white and brown coats and Iceland’s snow-white and dark blue shades created the perfect contrast.
Throughout his career as a photographer, Doggett said he’s “consistently drawn towards places on Earth that are near-impossible.”
And Iceland definitely fits the bill.
“Iceland is a surreal place, and the horses are the perfect companions to this unusual yet breathtaking land; the combination of the two is truly unforgettable,” he said.
Doggett said it took him several months to plan the two-week shoot. But even with rigorous preparation, nothing could have prepared him for what he was about to face during the actual shoot.
Other than the fundamental challenges of photographing animals, the country’s unpredictable weather became one of the most troublesome aspects of producing this series. Doggett had to grab every opportunity to capture the animals in action due to the constant threat of heavy rainfall and harsh winds.
Despite that, he still managed to take marvelous snapshots of the horses! See the beautiful images from this series in the gallery below.